Out Of The Country But Receiving SSA Benefits?

Posted on: 9 February 2019

When a worker is afflicted with a mental or physical condition that makes them unable to work at their jobs, the Social Security Administration (SSA) might be able to provide some help. There are several requirements that must be met before you are approved and it can take a long time before you either get a denial or are approved on appeal. You might also be able to live out of the country and get benefits, in some cases. Read on to learn more about this issue.

Major Requirements for Earning SSDI

As an overview of the major requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), keep these points in mind:

  1. For SSDI, you must first meet the minimum work and income requirements and the income that counts must be recent. The SSA calls this area Work Credits. You can find out how many you have by contacting the SSA or using the website.
  2. Secondly, you must meet the medical condition qualifications. The SSA only covers certain afflictions, and even then you must have medical (or mental illness) proof of your condition.

Timing Is Everything

For those who wish to move abroad or who already do so, the timing of your move matters if you want to be approved for SSDI benefits. In most cases, you must live in the United States when you apply for benefits. Once you are approved, there is nothing to prevent you from residing elsewhere. There are, however, a couple of places where that statement needs an asterisk. If you decide that you really must move to North Korea or Cuba, you can forget getting or accruing SSA benefits. Additionally, there are a handful of countries where you cannot actually receive your benefits while you are residing there. The benefits will accrue, and you can be paid once you relocate back to the States, however, so they are not lost – just delayed.

Special Rules for the Military

Due to the transient nature of those in the military and the diplomatic services, the rules are more flexible when it comes to being paid SSDI payments. Both the members and the family members of the following can expect to receive their SSDI payments regardless of where they live in the world:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Marines
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard
  • Air Force
  • Diplomatic Services

Regardless of the circumstances, if you have been denied your disability benefits, speak to a Social Security disability attorney at once.